Trailer Drop: “The Light Between Oceans”

Rumored to potentially hit in 2015, Derek Cianfrance’s literary adaptation of The Light Between Oceans has finally released a trailer. It stars this year’s Oscar nominees (and ubiquitous 2015 staples) Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander as a lighthouse keeper and his wife that take in an orphan newborn into their isolated island life. Things become heartbreakingly complicated when their life returns to the mainland.

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The source novel is an absorbing weepy that surprises as its themes take hold. The complexities and intimacies of a marriage and also the lingering effects of legacy have been explored soulfully by Cianfrance in previous films Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines. Here he looks to be just as introspective across a large canvas. With a prime festival season release date, expect this one to pop up somewhere on the fall festival bookings.

The Light Between Oceans opens on September 2!

filmmixtape’s Best Supporting Actress of 2015

Here’s the start of filmmixtape’s first Best of the Year superlatives. Yes, some things will be coming at their own pace – I have a few major things to see. It may be late, but I’m a completist, dammit. I’m starting off with what is always my favorite category: Best Supporting Actress.

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Rose Byrne – Spy

  • Every withering word out of her mouth in etched in marble. Byrne’s comedic gifts are absurdly under-valued against larger comedy names, and she’s been found unexpected honesty in hilarious performances in Neighbors and Bridesmaids. But she’s never been this uproariously precise or taken given broad humor this much brains.

Nihal G. Koldas – Mustang

  • Her grandmother is as both funny and urgent as the film needs her to be, but she’s never as anonymous as her character’s standing in the film’s patriachy. An extension of the film’s quintet of girls, she’s terrified, passionate, and loving in her own way. So much of the danger we feel for the girls come from the equal mix of fear and compassion on her face.

Sarah Paulson – Carol

  • Suggesting a complete life sideways of the love story at the film’s center, Paulson is dynamically present in every one of her few scenes. The Abby she creates is never the expected stock friend role in a love story – she shares a deeper connection to Carol and grants more kindness in Therese than some throwaway. She finds variety and range, crafting an Abby that is randy, defiant, and devoted.

Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina

  • She aces the high degree of difficulty: compellingly human beyond even sexual intrigue, but never humanly articulated. Like the film, she maintains tension by never overplaying her hand into outright menace or innocence. Still fascinating on multiple viewings, it’s a uniquely physical performance though she’s often perfectly still.

Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

  • Verbally dexterous as necessary to Aaron Sorkin’s relentless screenplay, you can clearly sense the actress energized by the challenges she aces along the way. She fleshes out Joanna Hoffman as more of a complete person than the rest of the ensemble floating in Jobs’s orbit, every bit believably disarming Jobs in the final act by digging deep and finding the film’s emotional core.

See who almost made the cut and filmmixtape’s winner after the jump!

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In Review!: “The Danish Girl”

Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl, promoted squarely around the hot button conversation of transgender issues, is far more effective as a story of the power of love during a marriage in crisis. Hooper (of The King Speech and Les Miserables) again is gifted with a strong field of actors to inhabit his heightened emotional vision, but with a presentation that never connects beneath the surface of pain on display, these typically interesting actors are stuck repeating the same notes over much of the film’s two hours.

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One of the first documented trans women to undergo genital reassignment surgery, Lili Elbe (Eddie Redmayne) was a successful landscape artist when she presented as male and married to portrait artist Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander). As Lili began her transition, Gerda’s profile began to raise as Lili became her muse – Lili fell out of touch and became disinterested with her craft. Particulars of The Danish Girl differ from history for the women, as Lucinda Coxon’s script is more focused on love’s sustainability through personal crisis. Coxon and Hooper struggle to to find multiple points of entry into the subject, as the whole middle section is structured of scenes repeating the same story beats without elevating the conflict or raising the stakes. Perhaps the hyper-stylized and conceptual Hooper is just a poor fit for a story as nuanced as this – for a movie about such a charged human issue and where characters spend the majority in some tearful state, shouldn’t the audience actually feel something?

Continue reading “In Review!: “The Danish Girl””